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Re: Debian, lists and discrimination

On Sat, Aug 07, 2004 at 01:13:31PM -0700, Jonathan Walther wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 07, 2004 at 09:49:35PM +1000, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> >On Sat, Aug 07, 2004 at 10:47:45AM +0200, J?r?me Marant wrote:
> >>Selon Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@debian.org>:
> >>> On Fri, Aug 06, 2004 at 10:29:40PM +0200, J?r?me Marant wrote:
> >>> > Evidence. I would like to see evidence that Debian has not been giving
> >>> > equal rights to males and women over the past years.
> >>>
> >>> The fact that our male / female participation ratio is much lower than 
> >>even
> >>> the gender split in IT, let alone the wider community should be enough.
> >>
> >>It is fact, not evidence. You cannot conclude it comes from 
> >>discrimination.
> >
> >You can't conclude it doesn't, either.  We have several women on this list
> >who are saying that they want to get involved in Debian, but for various
> >reasons they don't feel comfortable doing so.
> Why do you focus on the women who say that, but not on the even greater
> number of men who don't make the grade to get into Debian?

Because there have been some women who have said "we want to contribute, but
there are these reasons why we haven't."  I find several of those reasons to
be potentially compelling, and to have probable benefit to other segments.

> Yes, Debian
> discriminates.  Debian discriminates on the basis of technical ability,

It most certainly does.  I am proud to say that Debian is an organisation
that is discriminating, but not in the negative sense.

> and on social ability.

Yes, well...

> As a Debian Developer it is important to be able
> to deal with all manner of users.  Based on the behavior of the
> Debian-Women, I have a very real fear that they would ignore any bugs I
> filed because I am a "White Christian Male".

I think they'd likely ignore your bug reports because you have been abusive
and intolerant.  If they were ignoring the bug reports of anyone who fit the
"White Christian Male" typography, I would say you have a case.  As it
stands, if people ignored just you, you would have a hard time convincing
many people that it's because you're any of White, Christian, or Male -- as
you found on d-private.

> >>What if women don't want to spend their spare time in computing
> >>activities?
> >
> >Do you *really* think that's the case?  I knew several women at University
> >who were quite keen to spend their leisure time in computing activities,
> >we've got several women on this list, and I can't think of any intrinsic
> >reason why women would not get involved in computing activities in their
> >spare time.  Can you?
> The fact you can't think of any reasons only means you lack imagination.

Thanks for the compliment.  Yes, I do prefer to live in reality.

> Biologically, men and women are different.

Certainly (although too much cake *has* given me a bit too much cleavage

> Trends are analog, not digital.  Yes, the occasional monkey can ride a
> bicycle, but that doesn't prove that monkeys are as interested in riding
> bicycles as much as humans are.

But just because all monkeys don't naturally jump up and ride bicycles
doesn't mean that they aren't interested in riding bicycles.  If the
opportunity doesn't present itself, how do you know?  Do you believe that
people who lived 200 years ago wouldn't have wanted to ride in a motor car
if they'd had the opportunity?  None of them did, so by the reasoning you've
given above they all would have preferred to walk, because they all did.

> >>You *still* haven't come with evidence. For example, you could point us
> >>to where in the NM process there is discrimination (of course, not about 
> >>the
> >>silly he/she wordings war).
> >
> >There have been several places in which issues have been identified in the
> >NM process, by the people affected by it -- issues of not having any "feel"
> >for what really, actually goes on (hence Frank Lichtenheld's recent
> >description of his entry into Debian), and documentation which could be
> >clearer.  Is that a good enough start?
> Those things are not specific to women.  Tell me again, why do we need a
> Debian-WOMEN project, instead of a general Debian-Welcome project?

Because it's Debian WOMEN who have decided to make the effort.  If you'd
like to start debian-welcome and start welcoming people the way you've
welcomed the participants of debian-women, please, go ahead.  I'll be most
interested in the results.

- Matt

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